Written by:
Eiji Yoshikawa
Narrated by:
Brian Nishii

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
August 2018
53 hours 25 minutes
The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman

Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai—without really knowing what it meant—he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed, and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying. On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive, and brings life in his own village to a standstill—until he is captured by a weaponless Zen monk.

The lovely Otsū, seeing in Musashi her ideal of manliness, frees him from his tortuous punishment, but he is recaptured and imprisoned. During three years of solitary confinement, he delves into the classics of Japan and China. When he is set free again, he rejects the position of samurai and for the next several years pursues his goal relentlessly, looking neither to left nor to right.

Ever so slowly it dawns on him that following the Way of the Sword is not simply a matter of finding a target for his brute strength. Continually striving to perfect his technique, which leads him to a unique style of fighting with two swords simultaneously, he travels far and wide, challenging fighters of many disciplines, taking nature to be his ultimate and severest teacher and undergoing the rigorous training of those who follow the Way. He is supremely successful in his encounters, but in the Art of War he perceives the way of peaceful and prosperous governance and disciplines himself to be a real human being.

He becomes a reluctant hero to a host of people whose lives he has touched and been touched by. And, inevitably, he has to pit his skill against the naked blade of his greatest rival.

Musashi is a novel in the best tradition of Japanese storytelling. It is a living story, subtle and imaginative, teeming with memorable characters, many of them historical. Interweaving themes of unrequited love, misguided revenge, filial piety, and absolute dedication to the Way of the Samurai, it depicts vividly a world Westerners know only vaguely. Full of gusto and humor, it has an epic quality and universal appeal.
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Randall Decker

Once again, I waited for years to read a book, daunted by the sheer size of the work. It seemed like such a commitment. It took me exactly one month to finish the roughly 1,000 pages and now that I’m finished, I am truly saddened it is over. I have enjoyed being so wrapped up in Musashi's world and the times of 17th century Japan. Not only was the story compelling but the descriptive tidbits of life in that era wrapped up in historical locations and the politics of the time, I found my love of the Japanese culture that much greater. As beautiful as the translation was I wish I could read it in it’s original form as the artistic quality must be even greater. Not your typical western styled novel with good vs. evil, rather a mans battle with himself seeking true enlightenment and trying to understand what it means to live by the sword & The Way of the Samurai. The Art of War is so much deeper and meaningful than the title suggests. Throughout the story of personal follies and triumph a subtle love story is also told that had me completely enamored with the characters and their understanding of honor and what it means to be honorable. This world could do with a lot more honorable people like them. It is no wonder why this book is often referred to as the “Gone With The Wind” of Japanese literature. Truly a remarkable read. One I can highly recommend to anyone who wants to read a good story and learn culture and history along the way. I will be seeking out more books by Eiji Yoskikawa so I can stay in and experience this world a little longer. “Taiko” another 1,000-page novel awaits me. It will not be put off by its size/length this time knowing how much I thoroughly enjoyed “Musashi” and the world he lived in.

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